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Cablegate: Israel Media Reaction

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P 210547Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
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RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 0172
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 3083
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 7147
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 7346
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 6581
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 5261
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 7444
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 4198
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2423
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 1075
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 8594
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 3607
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 7579
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 9668
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH PRIORITY 2401
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 3548
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSIXTHFLT PRIORITY

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 000113

STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD

WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE, SIT ROOM
NSC FOR NEA STAFF

SECDEF WASHDC FOR USDP/ASD-PA/ASD-ISA
HQ USAF FOR XOXX
DA WASHDC FOR SASA
JOINT STAFF WASHDC FOR PA
CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL FOR POLAD/USIA ADVISOR
COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE FOR PAO/POLAD
COMSIXTHFLT FOR 019

JERUSALEM ALSO ICD
LONDON ALSO FOR HKANONA AND POL
PARIS ALSO FOR POL
ROME FOR MFO

SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR IS

SUBJECT: ISRAEL MEDIA REACTION

--------------------------------
SUBJECTS COVERED IN THIS REPORT:
--------------------------------

1. Anniversary of President ObamaQs Swearing-In

2. Mideast

3. Aftermath of the Earthquake in Haiti

-------------------------
Key stories in the media:
-------------------------

Israel Radio reported that U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace
Senator George Mitchell will visit Damascus today before coming to
Israel this evening. The Jerusalem Post reported that the PA is
pushing Israel to agree to a total construction freeze in both the
settlements and East Jerusalem of between three and six months. The
newspaper quoted senior Israeli officials as saying that PM Benjamin
Netanyahu will not agree to this offer. (Maariv printed a similar
story.) The Jerusalem Post reported that this is one the ideas that
Mitchell is expected to raise during his meeting with Netanyahu
tomorrow.

Major media reported that Iran has rejected an international plan
that called for shipping most of its low-enriched uranium abroad for
further enrichment as part of an effort to prevent the building of a
nuclear weapon. Media cited U.S. administration officials as saying
that this was an Qinadequate response.Q Makor Rishon-Hatzofe and
other media quoted the head of IDF Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Amos
Yadlin, as saying that Iran is advancing every day toward nuclear
capability.

Yediot quoted former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the U.N. Special
Envoy to Haiti, as saying that Israelis have accumulated a lot of
experience on the battlefield and that they have wonderful field
hospitals. Clinton thanked them for this. He was quoted as saying
that the Israelis do excellent work. Israel Radio reported that
other U.N. officials praised IsraelQs medical work.

Yediot reported that the Knesset is launching a campaign to put
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on trial in The Hague for
violating the U.N. CharterQs genocide clause. Maariv cited the
IDFQs belief that some of the weapons seized aboard the ship Francop
were sent by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Ahmadinejad.

Yediot cited suspicions in Israel that representatives of
international organizations and diplomats have transferred large
sums of money to Gaza through the Erez Crossing.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Fatah officials as saying yesterday that
PA Prime Minister Salam FayyadQs government has been working to
weaken Fatah by drying up its financial resources and isolating it
in the political and security fields.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli defense officials as saying
yesterday that the Pentagon is rebuffing IsraelQs technical demands
on the F-35 aircraft.

The media reported that, following the victory of Republican
candidate Scott Brown in the special Massachusetts election to
replace Ted Kennedy in the U.S. Senate, President Obama has lost his
majority in the Senate. U.S. politics expert Professor Avraham
Ben-Zvi told Israel Radio that this development represents
disappointment in a Qnational referendum for Obama.Q Media said
that Obama is facing various tests after one year in office.
Speaking on Israel Radio today, YediotQs Washington correspondent
rated the PresidentQs performance an 8 out of 10.

The Jerusalem Post reported that prominent Palestinian journalists
visited the Knesset yesterday.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Shin Bet has beefed up security for
officials traveling overseas because of concern that Hizbullah will
target one of them to avenge the assassination of its terror chief
Imad Mughniyah in Damascus two years ago.

Yediot reported on a row between Israel and Jordan regarding the
placing of a stone from the Temple Mount on the Knesset esplanade.
Jordan claims that the artifact was taken from a palace of the
Abbasside period, while Israel says it is from the Second Temple
period.

Yediot reported that Israel and Turkey have signed a cooperation
agreement in many domains aimed at returning bilateral relations to
their normal course. The Jerusalem Post quoted IDF Intelligence
chief Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin as saying that Turkey is moving away
from the West.
Media reported that a report by the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows that if the OECD accepts
Israel in its vote this May, it will be its poorest member with the
widest social gaps. The OECD's chairman, Jose Angel Gurria,
submitted the report to the Israeli Government yesterday. Makor
Rishon-Hatzofe quoted Netanyahu as saying that Israel will join the
organization by the end of this year.

Leading media reported that the FBI has arrested 19 suspects,
including three Israelis who own security firms, on charges of
attempted bribing of the defense minister of an African country.

Citing the AP, The Jerusalem Post mentioned a document released by
the Vatican yesterday, which blames the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
and the QoccupyingQ of lands for fomenting most of the conflicts in
the Middle East, driving Christians out and making life difficult
for those who remain.

Over the past week the media reported on the aftermath of a
complaint filed in court by a former employee of the PMQs wife Sara
at the Netanyahu residence in Caesarea, who accused her of bad
treatment and low remuneration. On Friday Yediot revealed the
alleged affair, which many view as the reflection of a row between
IsraelQs largest newspaper and Israel Hayom, a free daily with a
growing circulation that is owned by American Jewish tycoon Sheldon
Adelson, a friend of Benjamin Netanyahu.


--------------------------------------------- ----
1. Anniversary of President ObamaQs Swearing-In:
--------------------------------------------- ----

Block Quotes:
-------------

I. QFor a Stronger Year Two

The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (1/20):
QOne year later, the great expectations that Obama set for himself
in this sphere, and that others placed in him, lie largely
unfulfilled. America has not defeated terror in Iraq, Afghanistan,
or even in its own airspace.... Obama's diplomatic approach to
preventing Iran's nuclearization has borne no fruit; his delays in
applying sufficiently biting sanctions risk giving the Iranian
leadership the impression that it won't be held accountable....
Obama admirably sought a new way forward in his relations with the
Muslim world, which he elucidated in his June 4 speech in Cairo.
The response to date has been a cold shoulder, including the
rejection of the positive gestures he sought from Arab leaders to
give Israelis hope of reciprocity in the peace process....
Meanwhile, Obama's call for a halt to all Israeli building beyond
the 1967 lines -- a demand no Israeli prime minister could meet in
full -- needlessly radicalized the Palestinian leadership, for how
could Mahmoud Abbas consent to resumed talks with Israel when Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not even doing what his American
allies required him to do? That pressure to halt building even in
east Jerusalem and the major settlement blocs also reduced the
President's credibility among Israelis.... This is our hope: ... a
strong Israel requires a strong America that is respected by the
world. That was prominent among the expectations Americans and
Israelis harbored on that wintry day in Washington a year ago. And
that is what they need still more urgently in President Obama's
second year.

II. "Lonely at the Top"

Columnist and former Washington correspondent Tal Schneider wrote in
the popular, pluralist Maariv (1/20): QIn poll-loving America ...
Obama started his term with support rates of over 90 percent. How
is it possible that -- according to a Washington Post poll - the
President earns the support of only 54 percent of respondents. In
the parallel, i.e. the real, world, the American people will decide
whether to support or not a president based on a survey of economic
performance.... This is how the President will be judged over the
coming year. In November the mid-term elections ... will be held.
One will then be able to see how Obama is truly perceived among the
public that raised him to greatness.

------------
2. Mideast:
------------

Block Quotes:
-------------

I. QBefore Netanyahu Pops the Champagne
E

Palestinian affairs correspondent Avi Issacharoff wrote in the
independent, left-leaning HaQaretz (1/20): QThe Americans are
coming. The U.S. National Security Advisor, Jim Jones, visited
Israel last week and Mideast Envoy George Mitchell landed in the
country yesterday [sic]. But without a dramatic change in both
Washington's and Jerusalem's positions, talks on a final-status
agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will not be
relaunched even after Mitchell leaves.... Israeli officials will
naturally celebrate the significant QachievementQ of the non-renewal
of negotiations and deepening relations with Washington, while
[Mahmoud] Abbas will be viewed as a spoilsport, refusing every
Israeli or American proposal. Netanyahu will be able to sell his
colleagues in the Labor Party -- and domestic public opinion -- the
claim that he is at least trying. After all, who cares if there is
no diplomatic horizon if the West Bank is quiet? But without a
final-status agreement, this quiet will ultimately be revealed as
more fragile than it seems. Before the champagne is popped in the
offices of the prime, foreign, and defense ministers, let's remember
that the absence of diplomatic prospects hardly represents a foreign
policy achievement. Perhaps the time has come for Netanyahu to
simply tell the Israeli public the truth: there will be no peace
agreement with the PA without Palestinian sovereignty over East
Jerusalem, that building there does not help reach such an
agreement, and that maybe we need a building freeze, even a short
one, to save the moribund peace process from an untimely death.

II. QSitting on Embers

Eytan Haber, veteran op-ed writer and assistant to the late Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin, opined in the mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot (1/20): QIsraelQs condition has seemingly never been
so good: the shops are full to the brim, cafes fight over empty
tables, wages are rising.... Terror -- more dangerous than that of
bombs -- is that of world delegitimization, of IsraelQs exclusion
from the world nations... Over the past period the Arabs and
Palestinians have been disappointing us.... We should do everything
we can to revive the talks and bring the Palestinians to the
negotiating table. Looking at what has happened so far, the
Israelis fell asleep on the watch near that table, too.

III. QTime Is Running Out

Liberal columnist Dr. Gadi Taub wrote in Yediot Aharonot (1/20):
QThis option has a time limit and time is running out. Israel was
given six months [to launch an independent investigation into
Operation Cast Lead] from the publication of the Goldstone report,
and this period will end on March 15. The accusations of Judge
Goldstone appear to be mostly groundless. GoldstoneQs method, in
which clearly biased testimonies were accepted without question or
further examination, is not only unfair, but absolutely
scandalous.... Israel erred by choosing to boycott the commission.
But its choice not to honor the terms of the international community
and to launch its own investigation by an independent agency is much
more severe. Such an agency could be a commission headed by a
judge, or an inquiry by the State ComptrollerQs Office.... Why ...
has no investigation been launched? Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi
Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak continue to oppose it.
They wish to maintain the chain of command and the accountability of
the officers towards their commanders, not towards an external
tribunal.... But what the Chief of Staff and Defense Minister
believe to be protecting their subordinates is actually forsaking
them.... If war crimes were committed in Operation Cast Lead, we
have a right to know about them, and their perpetrators should stand
trial here in Israel. But it is no less important that we not leave
this manipulative report unanswered, and leave those who were sent
to defend our security exposed to prosecution and imprisonment. If
the IDF is proud of the fact that it does not forsake its soldiers
in the hands of the enemy, it should understand that we have enemies
of a new kind, and they are damaging our ability to defend
ourselves.

IV. QGoogleQs Tough Censorship Talk Bypasses Arab Countries

Digital affairs writer David Shamah commented in the conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (1/20): QGoogle talks tough when it comes
to ChinaQs blocking human rights on the Internet -- but is it
planning to do anything about net censorship and netizen rights in
the Arab world?.... I certainly do not approve of ChinaQs policies
on human rights.... I bring the above by way of contrast to the
Internet policies of countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and even
Jordan. Google not only does not protest the censorship and
invasive net practices of Arab governments -- it even cooperates
with them. And not only has there been no criticism of these
policies by Google, there has been no hint from the company that it
intends to close down its offices anywhere in the Arab world
ever.... Even countries that regards themselves as QwesternizedQ to
some extent, like the UAE, Kuwait, and of course that bastion of
democracy, Egypt, keep tabs on users and sites, sniffing out
QinappropriateQ use of the Internet. Bloggers who dare to write
something that their government disapproves of are likely to find
themselves in jail or worse.... Even China recanted its brief ban on
YouTube last year. Why close offices in China, but not the Arab
lands? If youQre going to take a stand on Internet censorship,
isnQt it discriminatory -- even racist -- to come down hard on one
set of abusers, while letting another group of abusers off the hook
altogether?

-----------------------------------------
3. Aftermath of the Earthquake in Haiti:
-----------------------------------------

Block Quotes:
-------------

QNow They Love Us

Eytan Haber, veteran op-ed writer and assistant to the late Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin, opined on page one of the mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (1/20): QThe IDF delegation that is giving
its heart and soul in order to save lives in Haiti illustrates in
its laudable work the Israeli tragedy: within a month or two, no one
will remember the good deeds of the IDF soldiers, the quick rescue
work at the far end of the world, and the countries and leaders who
are now praising Israel will give instructions to vote against it in
the U.N., condemn the IDF operations in Gaza, and once again
criticize the Israeli foreign minister. Israel, which is now
rescuing children from the inferno, will return to being the bad boy
of the world. These difficult days in Haiti are also days filled
with pride for Israel.... Soon, the soldiers of the delegation will
return to their homes. In their albums they will have pictures for
a keepsake. As for us, we will return to fighting in a world that
does not like to see us in our fine hours. What a pity.

CUNNINGHAM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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